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Quick Chek NJ Festival of Ballooning Launches Flag Awareness Campaign

June 14, 2005

Hoboken , NJ , June 14 – For most Americans, Betsy Ross has been the accepted creator of the American flag, but the Quick Chek New Jersey Festival of Ballooning, In Association with PNC Bank, today launched a campaign that credits New Jerseyan Francis Hopkinson as the actual creator of the American flag.With the colorful PNC Bank American Flag Balloon as the centerpiece for annual Flag Day ceremonies at Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken , officials of PNC Bank and the Quick Chek New Jersey Festival of Ballooning, were joined by Dr. Marc Mappen, the Executive Director of the New Jersey Historical Commission.During the ceremony, Mappen, a leading authority on New Jersey history, upheld the claim that Hopkinson was the bonafide designer of the original stars and stripes design, using evidence which pre-dated the claim of the Ross’ family by 100 years.”Francis Hopkinson is the person who deserves credit for designing the Stars and Stripes,” said Mappen. “Hopkinson was a brilliant and creative patriot, composer, poet, artist, politician, and political thinker. He was  New Jersey ‘s version of Leonardo Da Vinci.”The distinguished Hopkinson was a New Jersey signer of the Declaration of Independence, and an American statesman, artist, writer, lawyer, and judge. His most important writings included poetry, essays, and political satires.Born on Oct. 2, 1737 , he enrolled in the Philadelphia Academy in 1751 and received a diploma from the College of Philadelphia in 1757. He then practiced law in Philadelphia and in Bordentown , New Jersey .  He moved to Bordentown prior to the American Revolution.  In 1776, he was elected to the Continental Congress and the Continental Navy Board.  Two years later, he served as a commissioner in the Continental Loan Office. The 23rd annual Quick Chek New Jersey Festival of Ballooning, In Association With PNC Bank, is being held at the Solberg Airport in Readington from July 29-31.  The popular Festival now draws over 175,000 people from 31 states to see the ascension of 125 gigantic hot air balloons, major concert performers and hundreds of other family-oriented attractions.Further information on the Festival can be obtained by calling 1 800 HOT AIR 9 (1 800 468 2479) or by going to www.balloonfestival.com.PNC Bank, N.A. is a member of The PNC Financial Services Group, Inc.  (NYSE: PNC) PNC is one of the nation’s largest diversified financial services organizations, providing consumer and business banking; specialized services for corporations and government entities, including corporate banking, real estate finance and asset-based lending; wealth management; asset management and global fund services.